2010 Record | 3-8 (1-7 in Big 12)
Returning Starters | 15 (7 on offense, 8 on defense)
Key Losses | WR Johnathan Wilson had 38 receiptions for 387 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Jayhawks return most of their the biggest threats on offense. On defense, DB Chris Harris and DE Jake Laptad led the defense. Harris had 82 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss and Laptad had 38 tackles, 2.0 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss.
Key Additions | Sometimes I actually do my homework and find a player that I think was a big addition to the team, but Phog.net's Aaron Cedno did this form me on offense and defense. On offense, RB Darrian Miller was the highest rated recruit from last year's class and was there for the spring. Miller is a 5-9/190 runningback with speed to burn. On defense, Cedno identified LB Malcolm Walker, a 6-2/220 linebacker, that had 86 tackles with Navarro College, had offers with some fairly big colleges, but walked on at Kansas. One other quick shout-out goes to DE Pat Lewandowski, who is the brother of Texas Tech basketball power forward Robert Lewandowski.
Impact Offensive Player | RB James Sims was pretty darned good as a true freshman last year. He had 168 carries, 742 yards rushing, 9 touchdowns, 19 passes, 134 receiving yards and 1 touchdown. Since the Kansas quarterbacks struggled, it makes sense that Sims should see the ball quite a bit.
Impact Defensive Player | Leading tackler LB Steven Johnson returns with 95 tackles, leading the team, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, 3 passes defended and 2 quarterback hurries.
|Texas St. Bobcats
|@ New Mexico Lobos
|@ Kansas Jayhawks
|Texas A&M Aggies
|Kansas St. Wildcats
|@ Oklahoma Sooners
|Iowa St. Cyclones
|@ Texas Longhorns
|Oklahoma St. Cowboys
|@ Missouri Tigers
vs. Texas Tech | In head coach Turner Gill's second season, he still faces quite a rebuilding process. It's interesting, the Jayhawks went from 8-5 in 2008, 5-7 in 2009 and 3-9 in 2010. Just a slow trickle of losing games. Having not watched much, if any, Kansas football last year, it makes it tough say how or why Kansas struggled. I mentioned above, that the quarterbacks struggled last year and I think this is a pretty good place to start. There are some decent skill positions that return, the aforementioned Sims, TE Tim Biere (a Mackey Award nominee), WR Daymond Patterson (60 catches for 641 yards) and three additional linemen, LT Tanner Hawkins, C Jeremiah Hatch and RG Duane Slatnik. There's some talent there, but the quarterbacks really struggled.
QB Jordan Webb was mediocre at best. Completing 121 of 214 passes at a 56.5% rate for 1,195 yards, 7 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. For comparison purposes, Webb completed 5.6 yards/attempt, while Potts averaged 6.8 Y/Att. That's a big difference. The unfortunate part for the Jayhawks the other options at quarterback weren't any better. Quinn Mecham was about the same as Webb and Kyle Pick was worse than all three of them.
So how did this translate into actual production on the field? Kansas was 87th in the nation in rushing offense, 103rd in the nation in passing offense and 113th in the nation in total offense. Kansas couldn't muster more than 300 yards per game, and that's just not enough production from your offense.
Unfortunately, the defense wasn't much better. The defense allowed 107th in rushing defense, was okay in pass defense at 65th in the nation and 98th in total defense. The good news for Kansas is that they return 3 of 4 in the defensive backfield. CB Isiah Barfield, S Lubbock Smith and CB Greg Brown all return. And DB Tyler Patmon also returns, who I think was the nickel back last year. I mentioned the two defensive ends graduating, but Toben Opurum will fill in one of those spots. Opurum started out as a running back, then moved to linebacker and has finally found a home at defensive end. I think Kansas is hoping that this versatile athlete can make a big contribution to the defense. DT's Richard Johnson and Patrick Dorsey are okay, but I don't think we're talking about game-changing players.
The bottom line is that Kansas only averaged 17.1 points per game last year and gave up 34.4 points per game. Putting points on the board and keeping your opponent from doing the same thing is what has to change. I don't know that Gill will be able to put Kansas on the winning track this year, but like any new coach, you've got to give them some time to put their system into place.